We Want to Hear from You: Professor Ira Reid Documentary Project
Attention: Any who knew Professor Ira Reid—we want to hear from you!
A new documentary team wants to hear from any who have memories of the late Professor Ira de Augustine Reid. Dr. Reid chaired the College’s departments of sociology and anthropology from 1948 until his retirement in 1966. He was Haverford's first African American professor.
Our documentary leadership team includes Steven Bailey ’69, Stephen Washburn ’69, James Pabarue ’72 with professors Roger Lane and William Williams. We are supported by Asst. Dean of Multicultural Affairs Denise Allison and College Archivist Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger. Haverford’s Library will fund a full-time student research intern, Taylor Johnson ’24, to work with us for the month of June. We have begun consultations with Philadelphia-based Producer/Director Rel Dowdell assisted by California-based Line Producer Alain Silver.
Rel Dowdell graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University and earned his master’s degree in film and screenwriting with highest distinction from Boston University. You may know his feature film "Train Ride" and his most recent documentary, "Where’s Daddy." Rel’s father completed a Post-Baccalaureate year at Haverford in the late 1960s.
This documentary is clearly timely. Ours is an era when the College, with many nationally/internationally, acknowledge historic racial injustices and are creating more equitable and inclusive communities. Professor Reid’s life, scholarship and Quaker witness have much to teach and inspire all in these efforts.
We believe that in the first half of the 20th century, Ira de Augustine Reid was the first African American who had taught at a predominantly Black Southern university to pioneer the acceptance of faculty who looked like him at predominantly White Northern universities. Before joining the faculty at Haverford, Ira Reid taught at Atlanta and Columbia. His writings focused on Black immigrant/communities in the United States. He worked closely with Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois beginning at Atlanta University where he was hired by Du Bois in 1934. Later he worked with the Urban League and mentored the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today’s Ira de Augustine Reid House/Black Cultural Center on the Haverford Campus is a residential space for students invested in the African diaspora and is a resource for campus community at large.
It is time to sing the song of this unsung, pioneering transformational scholar to strengthen the chorus of justice, compassion, peace and equal opportunity for all. The Documentary Leadership Team asks anyone who can share memories, anecdotes, suggestions or other support to please contact Steve Washburn ’69 (scwashburn [at] verizon.net).